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Three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) of existence is experienced by all however different the experience(delusion) or attitude. How does the arhant experience them differently? I am under the impression arahant has transcended all three via maximum understanding (embracing), thus eradicating ignorance (top of Pratityasamutpada). Is it only avoidance, aka flux, being experienced by regular ppl? What is relationship of nirvana and 3 marks? Is it just that arhant experiences 3 dharma seals (nirvana, anatta, anicca), not three marks?

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  • Why would arahants not experience the Three Marks of Existence?
    – user24100
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 10:23
  • There are Four Dhamma Seals. Thich Nhat Hanh made a mistake here, discussed here: buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/19040/8157 Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 21:12

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The three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) of conditioned phenomena are not experienced by all. The suttas say:

‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to take any condition as permanent. That is not possible. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to take some condition as permanent. That is possible.’ They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to take any condition as pleasant. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to take some condition as pleasant.’ They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to take anything as self. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to take something as self.’

MN 115

If fact, if no Buddha arises in the world, there is nobody that comprehends the three marks. The suttas say:

Monks, whether Tathāgatas arise or not, this aspect of the world remains the same – this stable truth, this fixed truth: All conditional things are impermanent. A Tathāgata awakens to that and realizes that. Having awakened to it and realized it, he announces it, teaches it, describes it, expresses it, reveals it, explains it, and clarifies it: ‘All conditional things are impermanent'... ‘All conditional things are unsatisfactory’... ‘All things are impersonal.’

AN 3.136

The three marks are the cause of enlightenment & Arahantship. Arahants experience the three marks 24/7, as quoted above from MN 115 and as quoted below from SN 22.59:

What do you think of this, O monks? Is form... feeling... perception... mental formations... consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, is it unsatisfactory or satisfactory?"

"Unsatisfactory, O Lord."

"Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."

"Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever... past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that... must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

"O monks, the well-instructed noble disciple, seeing thus, gets wearied of form, gets wearied of feeling, gets wearied of perception, gets wearied of mental formations, gets wearied of consciousness. Being wearied he becomes passion-free. In his freedom from passion, he is emancipated. Being emancipated, there is the knowledge that he is emancipated. He knows: 'birth is exhausted, lived is the holy life, what had to be done is done, there is nothing more of this becoming.'"

This the Blessed One said. Pleased, the group of five monks were delighted with the exposition of the Blessed One; moreover, as this exposition was being spoken, the minds of the group of five monks were freed of defilements, without attachment.

Indeed, at that time there were six arahants in the world.

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  • the question said the 3 marks are experienced by all, not understood by all
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 16:11
  • 24/7? but what about jhana breaks?
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 3:30

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